The Distinction of Mind and the Body
According to Feinberg and Shafer-Landau (p. 2), philosophers had a different view on whether the mind is distinct from the body. Some held that the mind and the body are identical while others strongly asserted that the mind is distinct from the body. Those who believed that the mind and body are not separate are referred to monist. On the other hand, those who believed that the mind and the body are distinct are called dualist. There have been controversial arguments of whether the mind and the body are distinct. Some of the supporters of the argument are; Rene Descartes, Aristotle, Pluto, Zombie and many other philosophers. On the contrary, some philosophers like Churchland believed that, mind and body are not distinct. The existence of monist and dualist led to a rise of a controversial topic of philosophy of mind. The aspect of concern in this philosophy is the correlation between the body and mind. Monists believe that, body and mind are one and the same, having the mind being just an aspect of the body. On the contrary, dualists believe that, mind and body are separate either wholly or partially and that, the mind is not equivalent with the brain. However, despite having different believes, both dualism and monist have been criticized. Dualist arguments are criticized for failure to answer how the minds are supposed to interact if they are distinct (Duthel, p.165). This discussion, therefore, focuses on the arguments for and against the preposition that mind and body are distinct.
Arguments for the mind and body are distinct
The proponent of this argument is Rene Descartes. According to Descartes, the nature of mind is totally different from that of the body. This argument leads to the emergence of the controversial topic on the problem of mind casual interaction. Descartes defended the argument using two folds, the religious motivation and scientific motivation. From a religious point of view, Descartes asserts that, there is life after death. He supported his argument that, the mind and body are distinct from each other. He argued that, the decomposition of the body when a person dies does not imply the destruction of the mind and soul. Therefore, irreligious people will be forced to believe on the prospect that, the mind or soul can exist without the body. Additionally, Descartes used the scientific evidence to support his assertions. From a scientific point of view, Descartes used the thoughts of the late scholastic-Aristotelian Philosophers with a mechanistic explanation based on the concepts of geometry models. The concept of substantial form as part of the whole world brings the confusion of the idea of the mind and body. This confusion led people to ascribe the properties of knowledge and non-immortal things like stones, plants and even non-human animals. Therefore, distinction of mind and body eliminate this confusion by showing body moves without the mentality and principles of mental causation. Therefore, the nature of mind and body can be substantiated by understanding the geometrical nature of bodies. Descartes further argues that, the mind is not divisible unlike the body, which is divisible and hence the mind is separate from the body. Based on this argument, Descartes believe that the mind and the body are distinct. Additionally, Leibniz’s Law holds that, mental states are not identical with brain state. Therefore, this law tends to attack the identity thesis that identical things share identical properties (Descartes and Haldane. P. 10).
Arguments against minds and body are distinct
Dualist believes are criticized for failure to substantiate their assertions with objective evidence and facts. A question of fact arises that, if the mind is distinct from the body, how does the mind sets the events in motion as we think it does? Caruthers criticized the argument that, if minds and body are separate from each other, why do we experience pain and have some conscious states and events? Caruthers further asserts that, the mind and the body are not distinct from each other because, only mental state courses the physical state. For example, the movement of body from one place to another must incorporate the brain and not just a physical state. Caruthers strongly holds that only mental states cause physical events such as movement and hence the mind and the body are not distinct as argued by other philosophers. Additionally, Introspection argument criticize the philosopher believes of having a distinction between the minds and the body by arguing that, human beings and other animals feel pain and have desires because of the existence of mental states (Carruthers, p.83).
The philosophers have shown a significant discrepancy with respect to whether the mind and the brain are distinct from each other. Dualists are of the argument that the mind and the body are distinct from each other while monists are against the argument that, the minds and the body are separate from each other. Philosophers like Descartes have substantiated their argument by using both religious motivation and scientific motivation to support their assertion. However, his claims have faced opposition of the philosopher like Caruthers who argues that, physical events cannot exist by their own without incorporating the mental events.
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